ESCA’s Larry Arnaudet to Retire After More Than Five Decades in the Events Industry 

June 26, 2023

Larry Arnaudet, executive director of the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), announced his retirement, effective December 2023, following an impressive career in the meetings and conventions industry.

"Yogi Berra once said, 'When you come to a fork in the road, take it,'” Arnaudet told Trade Show News Network (TSNN). "Well, I’m there now and can see that fork ahead. After 53 wonderful years in this incredible industry, it’s time to hang up the coat and tie and catch up on all the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., that eluded me over the years."

Arnaudet’s professional journey began in 1970 with Manncraft Exhibitors Services in New Orleans and has been marked by steady growth and remarkable resilience, ESCA said in a statement. His tenures at GES, Freeman Decorating Company and most recently, ESCA, attest to his comprehensive understanding and wide-reaching influence within the industry.

As the executive director of ESCA since 2006, Arnaudet's audacious leadership and strategic acumen were instrumental in propelling the organization's recognition, leaving an indelible mark on ESCA and the wider industry, according to the association. One of his biggest accomplishments there was establishing the ESCA Badge system, a worker identification system recognized across the trade show industry nationwide.

“On behalf of myself, ESCA and our board of directors, I would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to Larry Arnaudet for his service to our association and for expanding our impact within the industry,” Damon Ross, president of ESCA, told TSNN. “We celebrate his retirement with the recognition of the many achievements he has had over his accomplished career.”

Known for his assertive leadership and distinct authenticity, Arnaudet's is unafraid to challenge norms and conventions, according to ESCA, and his candid professional interactions have helped shape his reputation as a formidable industry leader.

Central to Arnaudet's life is his enduring, 50-plus-year companionship with his wife, Mary Lee Arnaudet, which has been a steadfast source of support throughout Arnaudet's eventful career, according to ESCA.

Arnaudet added that while it’s always difficult saying goodbye to literally hundreds of friends, he sincerely hopes that he has made a positive impact on this industry.

"That was certainly my ambition from the start," he said. "Thank you all very much for making my professional life a true pleasure beyond my greatest expectations. Be well!”

The ESCA Executive Board is currently conducting a search for a new executive director and management company for ESCA.

Since 1970, ESCA has provided a unified voice for service contractors and their partners in the exhibition industry. ESCA currently has more than 175 member companies throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

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